Guiding Principle #10
Ministry practices and approaches have a strong missional focus and dimension, reaching out in Christ’s name to children, young people and families in the wider community.
Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. Romans 15:7
“Evangelism is not one piece of the church pie; it is the whole pie.” David Anderson, Vibrant Faith in the Congregation
Reaching out in Christ’s name reflects Jesus’ command to his disciples in Matthew 28:20:
Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
These verses show a way of life that is the responsibility of all of us, not just for the attention of a few on the evangelism or outreach committee. It suggests a way to live in this present age – we are Jesus’ disciples in today’s world. It is up to us to reach out with the love of Jesus in our culture and in our time.
So how do we do reach out in Christ’s name to children, young people and families in the wider community?
Here are some ideas of how to promote Christian evangelism (reaching out) through household hospitality and the ministries of your congregation.
Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. Matthew 19:14
Wherever you are, welcome children and young people and their families.
- Learn the names of the children and young people of your congregation and of those you meet. Greet them using their name.
- Consider being a mentor of a young person or newcomer of your congregation.
“Sitting around a table goes much further to connect people to one another than simply sitting in the same pew.” David Anderson, Vibrant Faith in the Congregation
Welcome families into your home and share your faith rituals and traditions with them.
- Be intentional about talking about your Christian faith.
- Say grace before your meal, share your favourite Bible story or verse.
- Pray for them.
- Share how God has been working in your life this week.
- Invite a non-church family to join you for a short holiday or camping trip. Include a time of worship or singing.
AS A CONGREGATION
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do it with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15
Think about offering a special ministry that is welcoming of new and non-Christian families.
Invite families in your local community. Consider utilising programs such as Messy Church* or mainly music** Grow Ministries can assist you to find a resource that may work for you. We have some fact sheets that can help you here.
- Consider offering worship on a Friday or Saturday evening. This time might be more accessible to families with children and/or young people.
- Include events on your youth calendar that students can invite their friends to. Provide opportunities for congregation members to volunteer at these events to encourage and support those in youth ministry.
- Invite families from your local community to a ‘Blessing of the Backpacks’ for children beginning primary and high school. Ask Grow Ministries to assist your congregation to do this. We have a great resource called Faith Trail that you can use for this specific purpose.
- Be a presence at community events like parades, festivals or local markets – provide a service to these events.
- Include stories of local community heroes in your church publications.
- Encourage children, youth and families to be involved in service activities organised by your local community like Clean Up Australia Day+ or National Tree Day++
Begin your journey of outreach with prayer. Be an individual, family and congregation of constant prayer.
- Continually thank God for the way He welcomed you into His family through baptism.
- Thank Him for the sacrifice of His son Jesus through His death and resurrection, so that we can be so freely welcomed into His family.
- Pray for the members of the congregation and for your families, that you continue to nurture each other in the Christian faith.
- Pray for the visitors and newcomers to your congregation, pray for ways to welcome them.
- Pray for your wider community.
- Pray for your congregation’s mission to them.
- Ask God to prepare ways that you and your congregation can reach out to them in His name.
*Messy Church – www.messychurch.org.uk
**mainly music – www.mainlymusic.org
+Clean Up Australia Day – www.cleanup.org.au
++National Tree Day – http://treeday.planetark.org